Global warming and climate change

Global warming is the gradual increase in the average surface temperature of the Earth. One impact of global warming is climate change, which is a long-term change in weather patterns.

Examples of climate change include:

  • patterns of rainfall changing
  • changes to weather extremes

The effects of global warming, and the climate change that it causes, include:

  • more frequent floods and droughts
  • glaciers and polar ice melting
  • sea levels rising
  • loss of habitats
  • temperature and water stress for humans and wildlife
  • changes in the distribution of species
  • changes in the ability of some regions to produce food

We are already experiencing some of these effects. The consequences of global warming, including climate change, will affect billions of people, all around the world.

Question

Suggest two reasons why global warming leads to rising sea levels.

Water from melting glaciers and polar ice enters the oceans. As the Earth's temperature increases, seawater warms up and expands.

Reducing the effects of global warming

The rate of global warming can be reduced by reducing the rate at which greenhouse gases are being released. For example:

  • using energy resources more efficiently, eg more cars with a higher fuel efficiency
  • using renewable sources of energy (eg solar power) instead of fossil fuels
  • reducing waste by recycling (eg plastic bottles)
  • reducing deforestation (eg reducing the conversion of rainforest to farmland)
  • regenerating forests (planting trees)
  • developing techniques to capture and store the carbon dioxide released from power stations